updated 12:05 pm EDT, Thu August 12, 2010
India gives RIM deadline to fix security concerns
India has given RIM until August 31 to address the country's national security concerns or shut down its e-mail and instant messaging services, says a Thursday report. The deadline was given after officials from the government, intelligence and state-run telecom operators met to decide how to gain access to the encrypted content. If RIM does not produce a technical solution by the deadline, a law will come into effect that would require operators to stop offering BlackBerry e-mail and IM services.
Bharti Airtel and Vodafone's India arm are the largest BlackBerry service providers in India. The country is among RIM's fastest growing markets, with about one million of the BlackBerry platform's 41 million total active users. A shutdown of the service would only allow these users to browse the web and make phone calls on the smartphones.
"RIM has assured us they will come with some solution. It remains to be seen whether they address our security concerns," said an unnamed senior internal security official.
RIM is said to have offered tracking e-mails without sharing encryption details, but this was refused by the government.
India has previously said it needs to monitor communications, as it could pose a security risk if used by militants or terrorists. Other Middle Eastern countries fear the spread or pornography or violations regarding contact between unrelated men and women.
In related news, RIM has recently struck a deal with Saudi Arabia that will put servers in the country to monitor its messages, although this has been called into doubt as it may have been impractical to implement.